Franco Polloni: What are the challenges of the energy transition?
Prof. Dr. Lino Guzzella: The scale of the necessary changes and improvements is enormous. Therefore, the biggest challenge will be providing the necessary economic resources. This is even more difficult as humanity is facing several other ESG challenges (poverty, hunger, health, etc.).
FP: How can the transition be turned into a business case and become investable?
Prof. Guzzella: It must become a business, otherwise there is no chance that the required changes are realised. The key point will be to price the emission of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) such that their externalities are included. Once this is achieved, free markets and governmental regulators must find the necessary coordination to achieve on a global scale the necessary improvements.
FP: What are the prerequisites for this to be successful?
Prof. Guzzella: A sober and fact-based analysis that avoids any ideological traps is key. There will be no silver bullet, only a plethora of approaches will make progress possible. Particularly, all sorts of non-fossil electricity generation must be included, and humanity also must prepare to adapt to unavoidable climate changes.
FP What are the opportunities for Switzerland specifically?
Prof. Guzzella: Switzerland’s most important contributions are progress in science and technology and the commercialisation of these ideas. Understanding the climate system, providing mitigation solutions, and offering adaptation approaches for the world are the relevant levers.